– As I reported earlier, yesterday’s truce ended in massacre, with as many as 100 civilians shot and killed by police in the chaos that ended the fragile truce. Western parts of the country remain in “open rebellion”, while much of the east remains strongly pro-Russia and President Viktor Yanukovych.
– Unbelievably, demonstrators were seen, “leading policemen with hands held high around the sprawling protest camp in central Kiev — Ukraine’s Interior ministry says 67 police were captured in all. They are being held in Kiev’s occupied city hall.”
– The European Union has imposed sanctions on those, “responsible for violence and excessive force” that include,”travel bans and asset freezes imposed on those deemed responsible for the fatal escalation of violence in Ukraine.”
– The White House has made Vice President Joe Biden the pointman with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The two had been in contacts for weeks already, and Biden had come out in support of the Ukrainian dissidents in early December, so he’s been on this beat for a while.
– Interesting developments on the political front in Parliament, according to The Telegraph:
The Ukrainian parliament is seeking to reign in the executive branch. Ukrainian MPs have voted to an effective end to the “anti-terrorist operation” declared by the Interior Ministry and security services in Ukraine. In a late night parliamentary session to which few ruling party members attended, 236 members of the 442-seat chamber voted to return interior ministry troops to barracks, ban them from using firearms, and implement a ceasefire in Kiev. The chamber was almost half empty – only 238 MPs showed up – the majority is significant because the opposition has failed to secure majorities throughout the three-month political crisis.
– There are widespread reports that the police are using snipers, and foreign journalists have reported seeing multiple bodies lying in the street with single gun-shot wounds to the head.
– Ukrainian Skier Bogdana Matsotska has withdrawn from Russia’s Olympic games, telling reporters, “I don’t want to participate when in my country people die”. Matsotska, 24, will miss the slalom, her best event. She hoped to head home and join protesters in Kiev’s independence square, but flights are not available. Even though she is stuck in Sochi, “I am in Maidan but just with my soul” the skier said, but she didn’t pull any punches, believing that Yanukovych, “has to be jailed, and for a long time,” Matsotska said. “For all the lives that he took, for all the lives of innocent people that came peacefully to stand for their opinion”. Powerful, but dangerous, things to say, mired in the heart of Putin’s Russia.